And the 2023 Junior Schools Cup champions are…
Congratulations to students and staff of St Mary Mackillop College from Canberra and St Francis De Sales Regional College, Leeton, who won the 2023 AFL NSW/ACT Junior Schools Cup in the girls and boys categories, respectively.
The final was held at the Central Coast Sporting Complex, Tuggerah with six girls schools and eight boys schools representing their regions and playing off for the chance to be crowned champions.
The girls’ played a league format comprising of five games of 12-minute halves. Twenty-two-player squads were needed to maintain the intensity of the competition in the battle for top honours.
The boys’ format was two pools of four teams with winners progressing to the finals. Each match was played over two 16-minute halves, with the best two teams of the three pool matches progressing to the final.
The Junior Schools Cup is for students from Years 7-9. Many of those playing in the final were members of the Sydney Swans or GIANTS Academies.
Conditions were perfect for what was a hard-fought day, with exemplary skills and match sense on display. Thank you to the students from St Peters Catholic College who ably supported the AFL NSW/ACT staff in umpiring and managing the day’s proceedings.
The tough luck story of the tournament was Xavier High School, which qualified in the girls and boys competitions. The team had made the long journey from Albury to the Central Coast with high hopes and were within a hair’s breadth of securing both trophies on offer, a feat the school achieved in 2022.
Alas, the girls’ team went down by two points against eventual tournament winners, St Mary Mackillop College, and the boys’ side’s wayward 2.5.17 saw them beaten by one point in the final against St Francis De Sales’ sharpshooters 3.0.18.
Thank you to all schools who played in the regional rounds of the 2023 AFL NSW/ACT Junior Schools Cup and we look forward to seeing everyone next year.
Photos by Steve Markham and Narelle Spangher